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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 and 2021 V90 T6

      Two Ways to Carry People and their Stuff By Volvo

    • Even though this shape has been around for a few years, the XC90 still looks very fresh. The minimalist boxy profile proudly shows off the various design traits such as the "Thor Hammer" headlights, slightly altered grille, and large wheels for the Inscription model.
    • This was the first Volvo model where I felt slightly disappointed with the interior. Not because of the material choice or design, but rather the color. The black leather and dark trim make the interior feel cheap, not something you want in an SUV costing over $90,000. A colleague of mine had a similar XC90, but with a light beige color which makes the vehicle feel luxurious. 
    • Aside from this, the XC90 follows other Volvo's in terms of comfort. The front and second-row seats provide are very supportive on any trip. Head and legroom is plentiful for most passengers sitting in the second-row. The third-row is best reserved for either small kids or emergencies.
    • My particular XC90 came with the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain. It's comprised of the 2.0L twin-charged (turbo and supercharged) four-cylinder and two electric motors. Total output is rated at 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission choice.
    • For a model that tips the scales at over 5,000 lbs, the T8 powertrain shrugs it off. When both powertrains are activated, the XC90 moves like a rocket. Making any sort of pass or merging is no problem.
    • The electric-only range is slightly disappointing with the EPA rating it at 18 miles. For comparison, Lincoln's Aviator PHEV gets 21 miles per charge. During my week, I was able to eke out 21 miles in mostly city and some rural driving.
    • Recharging on 110V took around 8 to 10 hours with the battery fully depleted. Getting a 220V charger drops the charging time to around 2.5 hours.
    • In terms of fuel economy, the XC90 T8 is rated at 55 MPGe with both powertrains, and 27 MPG with the gas engine alone. My average for the week landed around 43.
    • The XC90 surprised me in terms of handling. I was expecting a fair amount of body roll and feeling a bit overwhelmed. But it felt alright on a winding road with minimal roll. Credit the optional four-corner air suspension which also does an amazing job with smoothing out various ruts and bumps.
    • I came away somewhat impressed with the XC90. The T8 powertrain is the star of this vehicle as it moves this SUV like it weighs nothing, and returns decent fuel economy figures. The exterior still looks fresh and the ride/handling is impressive if you order the optional air suspension. Where the XC90 falters is in electric-only range; the interior feeling quite drab when getting a dark color; and the price tag. 

    Volvo V90 Inscription

    2020 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription.jpg

    • Take the V60 and add a few more inches in length, and you have the V90. The clean and smoothed-over boxy shape is still one of the best-looking shapes in a very small field of wagons.
    • Inside, the V90 is the pinnacle of luxury. My tester was the Inscription which included Nappa leather for the seats and wood trim. Unlike the XC90, the V90 came with a light color for the interior which made it feel more expensive.
    • Most passengers will not complain about the V90's space or comfort. No matter where you find yourself sitting, there is more than enough head and legroom. Cargo space is also plentiful with 33.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and 59.3 when folded down.
    • For powertrains, the V90 is only available with the T5 (turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder) or T6 (twin-charged 2.0L four-cylinder). My tester came with the latter, which also adds all-wheel drive.
    • Like other Volvos I have sampled with this engine, the T6 is quite potent. No matter the driving situation, the twin-charged setup can get up to speed in no time. 
    • EPA rates the V90 T6 at 21 City/32 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed slightly below the combined figure at 25.
    • The V90 makes no pretensions of being sporty with steering feeling very light. Body roll is kept under control, but that's due to the optional air suspension fitted to this vehicle. Ride comfort is top notch with barely a bump or road imperfection making its way inside.
    • Complaints? I do wish for more physical controls with the Volvo Sensus infotainment system. It would make doing certain tasks such as changing the fan speed or turning the heated/ventilated front seats on or off much easier.
    • The V90 is an excellent alternative to crossovers as it offers practicality and space, but with better fuel economy and handling.
    • But I have some bad news concerning the V90. Volvo announced earlier this year that 2021 will be the last year for this model in U.S. Despite being only available via special order from a dealer, sales were dismal - 153 units sold through the first half of this year. I can understand why Volvo is pulling the V90 from the U.S., but it is a shame. At least the Cross Country model will still be around.

    Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2020
    Make: Volvo
    Model: XC90
    Trim: T8 Inscription
    Engine: Twin-Charged 2.0L DOHC 16-valve Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor on Rear Axle
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 314 @ 5,700 (gas engine); 87 @ 0 (electric motor); 400 (combined)
    Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 2,200 (gas), 177 @ 0 (electric); 472 (combined)
    Fuel Economy: MPGe Combined/Gas Combined - 55/27
    Curb Weight: 5,142 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
    Base Price: $74,795
    As Tested Price: $86,790 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound - $3,200.00
    Luxury Package - $3,100.00
    Advanced Package - $2,450.00
    4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,800.00
    21" 8-Multi Spoke Wheels - $800.00
    Metallic Paint - $645.00

    Year: 2021
    Make: Volvo
    Model: V90
    Trim: T6 Inscription
    Engine: Twin-Charged 2.0L DOHC 16-valve Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 316 @ 5,700
    Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 2,200
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/32/25
    Curb Weight: 4,291 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
    Base Price: $57,780
    As Tested Price: $67,740 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound - $3,200.00
    Advanced Package - $1,500.00
    4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,200.00
    21" 8-Multi Spoke Wheels - $800.00
    Metallic Paint - $645.00
    Massage in Front Seat - $500.00
    Air Quality with Advanced Air Cleaner - $250.00

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    Sad that they never really gave the V90 a chance for a station wagon to do well, you have to have it on the lots, not special order only. I think it could have done very well if properly marketed.

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    On 11/16/2021 at 10:22 AM, David said:

    Sad that they never really gave the V90 a chance for a station wagon to do well, you have to have it on the lots, not special order only. I think it could have done very well if properly marketed.

    being a wagon owner myself, i like the sentiment, but the wagons are usually priced higher than the market seems to value.  If its an SUV they can seem to ask whatever they want for price and get it.  Wagons hit a price threshold and then people say, 'I could have an SUV for that price'.

    the other comment is true, if you don't stock them, no one will see them and become interested in them.  for 153 units a year, i can understand pulling them from the market.

    They might consider keeping it if it were 10,000 units a year but i guess ^^^^ see the previous part of this post.  I guess the taller your vehicle, the more you can charge.

    And most often, your wife will be the one to make the call on SUV vs Wagon, and those will almost unanimously be 'SUV'.

    the latter part of the 2010's have nice used wagons selection on the market.  Audi, Jaguar, Volvo, Buick :), etc.  I guess wagon buyers will have to snap up the used ones when they can since it seems the choices are far fewer from here on out if Volvo is pulling out.

    Edited by regfootball
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      Wireless Charger - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      Walking around the Venue, you become surprised at how small this crossover is. It comes in at 13 feet long and just under 6 feet wide, making it slightly smaller than the Accent sedan. The design is very chunky and boxy, which helps with maximizing interior space. The front has some interesting design traits such as a similar grille seen on larger Hyundai crossovers and a split headlight arrangement. With a large glass area and tall roof, the Venue feels very open and spacious. Finding a comfortable position upfront is no problem and the seats provide a good balance of comfort and support. The rear legroom is a bit tight for any over six-feet. Cargo space is on the small end with 18.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 31.9 with them folded. The Nissan Kicks as a comparison offers 25.3 and 53.1 cubic feet of space respectively. The interior design is quite pleasant with contrasting plastics used on the dash and door panels. I also like how all models get an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Power for the Venue is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 horsepower and 113 pounds-feet of torque. The base SE has a six-speed manual as standard*, while a CVT is optional. My SEL tester only comes with the CVT. Power goes to the front wheels only. If most of your driving takes place in an urban area, then the Venue is a perfect partner. It responds quickly off the line and can keep with the flow of traffic. The small size and quick steering make it a breeze to nip around and fit into tight parking spots. The highway is a different story as it takes the engine a bit of time to get up to speed. I should note that isn’t exclusive to the Venue as all cars on the subcompact class experience this issue. Fuel economy is rated at 30 City/34 Highway/32 Combined. My average landed around 30.2 mpg in a 60/40 mix of rural and city driving. Having a short wheelbase usually means a pretty choppy ride. But the Venue’s suspension does a surprising job of minimizing the impacts. For the money, the Venue is surprisingly well equipped. All models come with automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and an eight-inch touchscreen. The SEL is the sweet spot adding 15-inch alloys, automatic climate control, and a six-speaker audio system. It also allows you to order the Convenience package that adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a sunroof. The Venue is perfect for someone who is looking for a new car and lives in an urban environment. The small size, nimble nature, and list of equipment make it a strong contender in the growing subcompact crossover class. But if you need more cargo space or planning on driving on the highway more than the city, save up a little bit more money and move up to a Kona. (*Author’s Note: Hyundai dropped the six-speed manual for the 2021 model year.)

      Palisade Limited
      The Palisade is certainly a looker. Take the front end. There is a unique grille shape with a massive chrome surround, flanked by a split headlight arrangement. The Limited adds more a bit more chrome along with the windows and a set of 20-inch multi-spoke wheels. I think the abundance of chrome is a bit much. The interior could make some people at sister brand Genesis a bit envious. My Limited tester featured a suede headliner with openings for the dual glass roof panels; quilted door panels, and aluminum trim used throughout. Technology is another strong point to the Palisade. Similar to the Hyundai Sonata I drove earlier, the Palisade Limited comes with a reconfigurable 12.3-inch gauge display and a 10.2-inch infotainment system. Both are vibrant and easy to read even in direct sunlight. Hyundai's infotainment system still leads the way in being easy to use. Space is plentiful for front and second-row passengers. Third-row passengers get short-changed on legroom and seat padding. Limited and SEL come with seating for seven, while the base SE seats up to eight. Cargo space is in the mid-pack with 18 cubic feet with all seats up, 45.8 with the third-row folded, and 84 with all seats folded. The Palisade comes with a 3.8L V6 producing 291 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed is teamed with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. My tester had the latter. I never felt that I was looking for more power from the V6. Whether I leaving from a stop or needing to make a pass, the V6 and eight-speed automatic delivered a smooth and steady stream of power. Fuel economy is average for three-row crossovers. EPA says the Palisade AWD will return 19 City/24 Highway/21 Combined. I saw 22 in my week-long test. Ride quality could rival some luxury sedans as various road imperfections seem to be ironed out. Road and wind noise is almost non-existent. To be clear, the Palisade isn't trying to be any sort of sporty crossover. But I was surprised at how well it minimizes body roll when on a winding road. Considering Hyundai's past attempts at a large three-row crossover, the Palisade is a clear winner. The interior is class-leading, it offers a pleasant ride, performance is smooth, and the trademark value proposition is here. The Limited seen here comes in at just under $48,000 with destination. What may set some away is the Palisade's styling, which I'll admit I did like for the most part. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Venue and Palisade; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Venue
      Trim: SEL
      Engine: 1.6L DPI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 121 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM:  113 @ 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/34/32
      Curb Weight: 2,732 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $19,250
      As Tested Price: $23,405 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,750.00
      Convenience Package - $1,150.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Palisade
      Trim: Limited AWD
      Engine: 3.8L GDI D-CVVT 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 291 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 5,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21
      Curb Weight: 4,387 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $46,625
      As Tested Price: $47,905 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $160.00

      View full article
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